National Cuts, Local Effects

Each of the three main local news sites covering Rugby has an article pertinent to the round of cutbacks we are all going to be experiencing.

The Rugby Observer reports that the Police Station in town will only be open to the public from the front desk for 12 hours a day, starting next Monday (1 Nov). The Cov/Warks Telegraph highlights a study which suggests that between them, Coventry and Warwickshire will be losing 16,000 public sector jobs with nearly 40,000 more in the private sector put at risk. The report suggests that Warwickshire could be badly hit, and towns like Rugby and Stratford have vulnerable private firms.

Mind you, on the other side, the Advertiser brings news that Rugby Borough Council is hoping to replace the Ken Marriott Leisure Centre with a new facility. This was covered at the Cabinet meeting last week. There it was agreed to commit £200,000 of capital to investigating tenders for the project.

Now, as much as it would be great to have a new Leisure Centre, it seems a bit incongruous to spent a six-figure sum on a project that might not even go ahead, let alone the likely millions that the full build would require, at a time when the Government and councils are cutting spending.

At the same meeting, the Cabinet discussed (I say ‘discussed’, it was more nodded through) a report on the money stuck in Icelandic banks. Rugby had about £3M in two banks. Landsbanki, with about £1M is agreeing to pay back 95% of the money over the next eight years – as long as the overall plan is not successfully challenged by other creditors. In terms of lost interest and depreciation, this would represent a loss of about £400,000 by the time all the money is returned.

The other bank, Glitnir, had the remaining £2M, but the offer there is only 38%. The council are challenging that one, of course, but if it goes that way, the end result means that about half of the original £3M would be lost.

With that background, what are the Council going to use to pay for a new Leisure Centre?

Please provide own truncheon…

On one of my posts about the closure of Brinklow fire station, Mrs Wormwood joked that under the ‘Big Society’ we would all be asked to carry around buckets of water.

Seems that the Government – well at least the Tories – have a similar idea for policing. The cuts will see numbers of police reduced by 20-30,000, but don’t worry about crime or public order, because they’ve got a cunning plan – bring in more volunteers, otherwise known as ‘DIY policing’. Ironically, the idea is to model the retained fire fighters, which is the same system being slashed by the Tories at Warwickshire County Council to save money.

I’m sure that this will be properly thought through, though. I mean, it’s not like the Tories rushed the Academies Bill through the Commons as fast as possible to avoid it being scrutinised properly, is it?

Eh? Eh? Oh.